The Maryland Native Plant Society

The Maryland Native Plant Society
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  • MNPS Field Trip: Civil War Fort Site: Fort Dupont

MNPS Field Trip: Civil War Fort Site: Fort Dupont

  • 10/22/2011
  • 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Fort Dupont, Washington, DC
Civil War Fort Field Trip-Fort Dupont

Sponsoring Organizations: Maryland Native Plant Society and Anacostia Watershed Society Field Trip

Location: We will meet up at the Fort Dupont Activity Center which is located on Fort Dupont Drive, SE off Randle Circle, SE.

About Fort Dupont Park

The park comprises almost the entire area of Fort Dupont subwatershed which is approximately 460 acres; about 11% is impervious. It is the least populated subwatershed and the one with the highest level of forest cover in the Anacostia watershed, with a forest cover of 63.9%; the subwatershed possesses substantial areas of mature forests of 65 years or older. The park and the entire subwatershed are located within the Coastal Plain physiographic province, although the park topography is quite hilly which explains why a military fort was built during the Civil War era.

The magnificent mature forests of the park are, at many sites, almost free of invasive plants; in addition, there is a rather low deer population which means that the park has some healthy and nice-looking woods! In these sites the forest understory shelters native shrubs like mountain laurels (Kalmia latifolia) which are abundant on slopes. The Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) is another remarkable native species. At least two interesting native parasitic species occur in the park, Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana) and Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), the presence of the latter by itself shows how rich the woods are. Interestingly, the park has a healthy Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) population that thrives in this woodland oasis in the middle of the city.

We will walk through the park trails, especially the Hollow Tree Trail, the Hiker Biker Trail and the Ridge Picnic Areas. A group of botanists and conservationists from the Maryland Native Plant Society and the Anacostia Watershed Society will identify the park’s wonderful flora and its amazing natural history.

Note: The event will go on through a light rain but will be cancelled if there is a downpour.

Contact: Call Mary Pat Rowan at 202 526 8821 before 9 am the morning of the walk if you want to know if the walk is cancelled. Also call if you have any questions.

What to Bring: We strongly recommend long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and closed-toe shoes (hiking or waterproof). This helps minimize skin exposure to poison ivy and ticks, which are found in the park (If clothing can also be light-colored, it’ll be easier to spot ticks.). We recommend bringing along a repellant designed to repel both deer ticks and mosquitoes, your brown bag lunch and a water bottle. Don’t forget to bring your plant and wildflower field guides, a hand lens and enjoy one of the best urban greenspaces in the nation!

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